Food by VICE

Two People Arrested After Buffet Brawl Over Crab Legs

"People are moving around, plates are shattering everywhere. It's not something you typically hear, if you can imagine a fencing match."

by Jelisa Castrodale
Feb 28 2019, 11:42pm

Photo: Getty Images

My dad had a pretty travel-heavy job when I was a kid, and occasionally the entire family would just pack ourselves into his company-issued sedan and go with him. When I was probably nine or ten, we stayed at some mid-range hotel chain in the American South, a trip that is only memorable because it happened on the same weekend as the lobby restaurant’s all-you-can-eat lobster night.

Until that point, I don’t think I knew that grownups could lose their goddamn minds. Well-dressed men and women yelled at each other from opposite sides of the buffet line as they all scrambled to grab their own whole lobsters. Multiple lobsters. That night, I saw a woman wrap a lobster in a cloth napkin and put it in her purse, and I saw an entire table of adults eat lobsters like they were oversized crawfish, snapping their… necks (??) and sucking their heads. I have thought about those two things at least once a month for the past couple of decades, and I’m thinking about that whole strange night today, all because of what recently happened in a Huntsville, Alabama restaurant.

According to WHNT, several people were in line waiting for fresh crab legs at the Meteor Buffet, and when the cooked crustaceans were finally presented, well, a couple of grownups lost their goddamn minds. Officer Gerald Johnson told the news station that he’d just taken a seat and started on his own meal when he heard a disturbance near the buffet. “There's a woman who's beating a man. People are moving around, plates are shattering everywhere," he said, adding "It's not something you typically hear, if you can imagine a fencing match.”

Yes, two people—later identified as John Chapman and Chequita Jenkins—were using the buffet tongs as fencing foils, and were full on fighting each other with them. “They'd been waiting there for the crab legs for a good ten, 20 minutes,” Johnson said. “When they finally came out, it's very heated. Especially if someone is taking more than their fair share.”

Officer Johnson had to abandon his own dinner to deal with the tongs and the fight and all of it. Chapman and Jenkins were ultimately disarmed and separated, but not before Chapman was somehow cut on the head. (The two both admitted that “their tempers got the best of them.”) Both of them were arrested, with Chapman earning himself a disorderly conduct charge, and Jenkins scoring herself a third-degree assault.

The surprisingly violent tong-fight happened last Friday night and, if there were any kids at the restaurant when it all went down, they’ll remember it forever. Trust me.